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Firefighter just found out t-3 rectal

jantley
Posts: 7
Joined: Mar 2005

Hi my name is john i am 44 years old and just found out i have a polyp that is 2 cm and is t-3 cancer i had a cancer polyp removed when i was 37 years old. but it has come back in the same place.I am going to see the surgeon on monday and i am scared. can you still be a firefighter or has any firemen gone through this have any help. because this is my secound time in the same spot i think he is going to take out all my rectum. but i dont know. please pray for me and any help would be grateful. after surgery i dont know if i want to do the cemo thing i have read about natural cures what is the opinion. i think cancer is somthing were are born with and it attacks us when we are not looking or are strong like a time bomb with a long fuse if you will. i have been reading a lot of post and i must say i dont think any of us did anything wrong we just got it and thats it.how we deal with it is more important. i could blame myself,my job, my god but that would be useless. i must find the trigger that has let the monster out. and then i will slay it. i have been alright for 5 years and then i had a small polyp removed one year ago and now im t-3 what the heck. is that fair or what. i should be pissed. i think the doc last year may have left a small peice of polyp. okay just a thought. im not sue happy. my cancer has return what do i do now HELP.

StacyGleaso's picture
StacyGleaso
Posts: 1246
Joined: Mar 2003

Hi jantly,

You've come to the right place for support, information, and usually a good laugh--censored and uncensored! There are SO many success stories, and every emotion you're feeling is perfectly normal. Stay strong. Throughout my whole ordeal, I was blessed enough to have very supportive siblings, parents, and even my kids, who were only 2, 4, & 7 at the time. So in a way, I put out a series of "little fires" daily, and still came out successfully! YOU CAN DO THIS!!!!!

Can't wait to read about all your progress! Keep us posted!

Stacy (formerly stage 4, today all clear!)

bcmeaks
Posts: 22
Joined: Apr 2004

Hi John -- I am a stage 2 rectal cancer survivor -- was diagnosed at age 38. I had surgery to remove the cancer and did not have to have my rectum removed, did not need a bag. So there is hope. I had radiation/chemo, then surgery, then more chemo. Yes it was a pain and the side effects weren't great but you fight the beast with everything you have. Please hang in there and you can fight this. God bless.

jantley
Posts: 7
Joined: Mar 2005

do you think i could still play golf if i heal well. i would hate to lose everything i love to do in life. could this thing disable me and what do you do until you can work again do they put you om tempory diabilty or what when my leave runs out from work . i onley have five months of leave

Moesimo's picture
Moesimo
Posts: 1075
Joined: Aug 2003

I am sorry that you had to be here. Make sure that you are seen at a major cancer center and seen by an oncology surgeon. I was 46 when diagnosed with stage 3 rectal cancer. I had chemo, radiation, surgery with temp. ileostomy and then the reversal, more chemo which I was unable to finish because of severe diarrhea. I was left with mutliple BM's and constant diarrhea, anal pain, and incontinence due to my low reconnection and damage from radiation. I recently had a permanent colostomy to improve my quality of life. It has indeed. I haven't felt this good since before my diagnosis. I tried so hard to save my spincter and did not want a colostomy. It's not so bad. I have my life back and recently went on a criuse. I couldn't have done that six mos. ago.

Good luck and keep us posted.

Maureen

KKLoop
Posts: 73
Joined: Mar 2005

Great to hear this! My neighbor tried the same as you and struggled and struggled..finally after a year of pain...she opted for the bag and she is living her life! My Mom is learning how to adapt with her bag....the best advise my neighbor gave her was to forget about it and start living....Good to hear your post@

jantley
Posts: 7
Joined: Mar 2005

i want to thank everyone for the help i need you all and some. love you all get well

MJay's picture
MJay
Posts: 132
Joined: Aug 2004

Hi Jantly~

Go to uoa.org. I know the guy for you. There is a man named Doug who was highlighted on their website. He was diagnosed with rectal cancer in his 30's. Had his rectum removed, colostomy in place. He went back to work 10 weeks after surgery.... guess what he does!!! Yep!! Firefighter. He is currently cancer free and fighting fires with a vengence.

He was a great inspriration to me when I first started this battle (5/04- stage 3 rectal cancer) and doesn't mind sharing his story.

MJay

MJay's picture
MJay
Posts: 132
Joined: Aug 2004

http://www.uoa.org/thirtyplus_firefighter.htm

I found the link for you!!!

MJay

jana11
Posts: 708
Joined: May 2004

Hi John, just to give you a hopeful story. I am now 34, diagnosed at 32 yrs old with stage 3, now stage 4. I had my rectum removed, left with colostomy. The ostomy nurse told me there was also a pro football player, don't know who, who had an ostomy; and continued to play.

Nothing they can do will stop you, unless you choose to stop. Take it all one day at a time... making decisions as you go.

Wish you all the best. jana

kangatoo's picture
kangatoo
Posts: 2115
Joined: Feb 2004

Hiya John from OZ. Dx'd stage 2 here, surgery, no bag then 6 months chemo(yes--yuk!)
BUT...lets not jump the gun here John! You need to read lots of personal web pages here. You are now part of our great "family" so ask all the questions you like and don't be bashfull about it. You need as much info and support as you can get. I have been coming here for 2 years and there is hope, faith and wisdom in everyone. Today we have better medicines and treatment than ever before and it improves daily. A friend of mine was dx'd 18 years ago! He does have a colostomy and today he is cancer free. Now that is cause for much hope John! Back then chemo was not as good either and natural remedies and treatments were unthought of.
Cross each of your bridges as you come to them John. Continue to tell us more details John so we can support you. Fear and anger is not a new word for any of us here...we know EXACTLY how you are feeling. There will be highs and lows,no doubt about it.....but all is not lost!
Our very best to you John, kanga n Jen
"from upside down land"

madu
Posts: 53
Joined: Mar 2005

Hey John,

Just wanted to let you know that I had rectal -sigmoid cancer with a met to the liver (stage IV at age 31). My surgeon said he could feel the tumor during his exam so it wasn't that far in and he told me straight off that it was unlikely I would need a colostomy - and if I did it would be a temporary one. Ultimately I did not need one - they just did a resection and reconnected the colon. I have to tell you I did chemo and radiation and it wasn't that bad - at least not as bad as I perceived. I took 5FU and leucovorin (there are newer drugs approved now) - 1 week of chemo and three weeks off - took 20 minutes max each day. My radiation oncologist felt radiation was called for because colon cancer tends to return at the same site (as you know) and he felt radiation countered that likelihood (it was his research at Harvard after med school). Since I'm standing here at almost seven years after diagnosis without a reoccurence I tend to side with him although I know some wouldn't agree with him. As to returning to your job - you may find some fatigue during and after treatment but your strength will return and many find work as a good distraction. There was an actress who had a colostomy and wrote a book about it - think it was Barbara Berry - she was in Suddenly Susan with Brooke Shields. Also Darryl Strawberry and another baseball player (Eric? he started a foundation) had colon cancer and continued to play (well Darryl had his problems).

I know there's a lot of literature that has a "blame the victim" subtext (yeah right someone's anal so they caused themself colon cancer - I just don't think so). My onc told me that (at least for the young ones like myself that had not genetic history of colon cancer) that we are probably missing a tumor blocker. Basically we all have cells that subdivide wrong and could turn into cancer but our bodies send out tumor blockers that kill the bad cells. That was his best guess as to why I got colon cancer at such an early age - maybe this is what happened with you. I hope your appt. goes well and if you feel uncomfortable with that opinion get a 2nd or a 3rd - it's your life and decision and it will go much easier if you trust your onc.

Heidi

jantley
Posts: 7
Joined: Mar 2005

thanks for replying to me and i hope you feel better.

taraHK
Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

Hi. I was diagnosed with rectal cancer at age 44 - Stage 3. I had chemoradiation followed by surgery followed by more chemo. I am almost 2 years post-surgery now, and NED. My surgery did end up in a permanent colostomy. It was an adjustment, but it really ain't that bad (for me). Although I don't have a physical job, like you, I do a lot of active sports, and haven't had to curtail anything. The important thing is to focus on getting rid of the cancer, and being healthy! I had genetic testing because I have kids and needed to know if there was a genetic component. But other than that, I don't dwell on why this happened to me. I really try to focus on the future, not the past....I wish you all the best.
Tara

spongebob's picture
spongebob
Posts: 2600
Joined: Apr 2003

John -

I wouldn't cash in your chips just yet, bro...

I had two 4cm tumors and a 3 cm tumor, T-4, they took 66% of my colon out, I did 6 months of chemo. I'm still on active duty in the Coast Guard and just finished an advanced fire fighting school that had me in the burn house in full turn out gear for several hours a day. My cancer was three years ago now. Docs these days will do everything they can to save your rectum and avoid an ostomy. Rest assured "saving your ass" is job one for your doc right now - in more ways than one!

Welcome to the Semi-Colons, John. Vent, ask questions, give encouragement, take ideas and strength... We're on big happy family of half-asses. Sorry you had to find us, but glad you're here.

- SpongeBob

steved
Posts: 836
Joined: Apr 2004

Lots of good stuff above so little more to add except my brief story. Stage 3 diagnosed at 31 and now post op and chemo. Have an ileostomy which they are looking to reverse next month after 8 months with it. Really I have had thoughts of keeping it as there can be problems after a reversal and it isn;t that bad having it. There is NOTHING I have found that I can;t do now that I could before. I have worked throughout my chemo full time and still exercise regularly. Swimming and golf are fine post op (after a couple of months brealk that is)and really if they get rid of the cancer yor life should be able to find its way back to normal in time.

As for your question on what to do treatment wise- just take it one step at a time. Surgery first then talk about options onse they have the staging from the histology and the op. Chemo is the usual course for stage 3 and varies in centres from just 5FU for six onths to the full FOLFOX regime. Chemo is the only treatment post op that has scientific evidence (ie proper trials and expereiments) that show a reduced recurrence rate for colon cancer. However don't disregard other options to add to it such as nutritional and lifestyle changes. While I'm not a huge advocate for them myself they do little harm and help the body recover and fight. While there is littel scientific evidence for them there is more anecdotal evidence they help and many here can attest to that.
Anyway the main thing for now is to let your mind adapt to this recent news and give yourself time to deal with the anger and questions you undoubtably have. Use this site for venting or for info and let u snow how you get on
Steve

jantley
Posts: 7
Joined: Mar 2005

I just wanted to update everyone on john's recovery. I am his wife cheryl and I found this site for him when he was first told of his cancer. he had surgery on april 13th. they did a resection through a incision from his breast bone to pelvis bone. It was cancer and he does have to have radiation. as of right now we are waiting for the final pathology report to determine if he needs chemo. he is home now from hospital now and goes back to see dr on monday to have staples removed the best part of this whole thing ( he was really worried about) is he did not need a colostomy bag or even a temporary one. I want to thank everyone for your support and words of encouragement you have given him it has really helped alot for him and for me. all of our prayer for you and your families as well as my own. thanks cheryl

jantley
Posts: 7
Joined: Mar 2005

I just wanted to update everyone on john's recovery. I am his wife cheryl and I found this site for him when he was first told of his cancer. he had surgery on april 13th. they did a resection through a incision from his breast bone to pelvis bone. It was cancer and he does have to have radiation. as of right now we are waiting for the final pathology report to determine if he needs chemo. he is home now from hospital now and goes back to see dr on monday to have staples removed the best part of this whole thing ( he was really worried about) is he did not need a colostomy bag or even a temporary one. I want to thank everyone for your support and words of encouragement you have given him it has really helped alot for him and for me. all of our prayer for you and your families as well as my own. thanks cheryl

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